Although Bunya Mountains National Park isn’t the biggest national park you’ll ever come across, it’s close enough to Brisbane for a relaxing camping weekend away.
Surrounded by flatlands in the South Burnett area, the Bunya Mountains rise some 1,100m above sea level, offering some pretty nice views into the surrounding countryside.
There’s enough hiking to keep things interesting for a couple of days. Or if you’re feeling lazy, you could spot a wallaby or read a good book.
READ MORE: 5 Fabulous Things to Do in the Bunya Mountains
BUNYA MOUNTAINS CAMPING OPTIONS
Camping at Bunya Mountains is definitely popular but since the national park offers three campgrounds for pitching your tent, you’ve got decisions to make. If you want creature comforts or almost glamping, Dandabah is going to be your best option. Otherwise, choose either Burtons Well or Westcott campground.
In any case, remember that you’ll need to pre-book your site, and especially for long weekends or school holidays, you’ll want to do that well in advance. It does get busy around here.
OPTION 1: DANDABAH CAMPING AREA
I can’t remember why we settled on Dandabah, maybe it was the only available spot, but that’s where we stayed over a long weekend in April.
Dandabah is an open, grassy area that’s more or less in the heart of the tiny settlement by the same name. There are no designated campsites, everybody basically camps in a circle, which I found a bit weird. It’s like you’re staring at each other.
It’s set up for about 70 people so when it’s full, it can feel quite busy.
The whole campground is sloped so you want to try and get yourself a site on the top section of the campground as that’s much flatter.
We scored a site at the far end towards the picnic shelter and close to the ranger’s hut but unfortunately, on the down slope. Lots of mucking around with the tent until I was happy with where it was. This still meant that we were sleeping somewhat on a slope but it was manageable.
Dandabah is a family destination so while there was a lot of noise from children early in the morning, it also meant everybody went to bed at a reasonable hour. I approve. 🙂
As the Bunya Mountains are at a higher elevation, expect cooler temperatures. In early April, it wasn’t cold but I was glad I had my fleece jacket for the evenings (especially since we always end up cooking really late).
Not being exactly off the beaten track means that you don’t need to bring your camping toilet. There are facilities at all three camping areas. Dandabah even has showers!
DANDABAH CAMPING AREA AT A GLANCE
PROS: Easily accessible; clean, flush toilets and hot showers; family-friendly; soft grass makes for comfy camping; wildlife everywhere; close to the Eastern walking tracks; vehicle-based camping
CONS: No designated campsites but an open area set up in a circle and with little privacy; almost no shade; lots of traffic going past (daytrippers visiting the cafe, picnic areas and walks); fairly busy over the Easter weekend (but not off-putting); no picnic tables at the campground
COST: $6.75 pp/pn (2021); pre-bookings only
Not sure what the tents and mozzies mean? Learn more about my tents and mozzies guide.
Be aware that the area is known for ticks but in April we didn’t have any trouble with them. Talk to the rangers if you have any concerns.
OPTION 2: WESTCOTT OR BURTONS WELL
If Dandabah is too big for you, you could camp at Westcott camping area (set up for about 30 people) or at Burtons Well campground.
Both of these camping areas are perfect for tent camping, though you won’t be able to camp right next to your vehicle in most cases.
Westcott seems like a smaller version of Dandabah with lots of grass. There are no designated or individual sites, and the camping area is surrounded by forest on two sides. It’s on the western side of the Bunya Mountains and you’re close to the western walking tracks there.
The Burtons Well camping area is bigger (set up for about 50 people) and with more trees and barbeques. It also extremely sloped so you’d need to scout out a suitable site. You might be able to get some views from your campsite here but with the sloping, I reckon it’s a bit trickier finding a good spot.
Neither campground offers vehicle-based camping, which would be a bit of a pain for us with the camping fridge etc. in the car. There are no showers and only composting toilets at both these sites.
That said, Burtons Well offers some beautiful views into the flatlands towards the east, and would probably be my preference. It also has picnic tables and you may be able to set up your tent close enough to make use of it. Burtons Well might also be a lot quieter as there wouldn’t be as much through-traffic as at Dandabah.
No matter where you camp, practise responsible camping.
For more information on campground options, facilities and how to book online, check out the Queensland National Park website.
MORE POSTS ON CAMPING IN SOUTHEAST QUEENSLAND
If you want to stay within the Southeast, there are plenty of great national park camping spots within 2-3 hours of Brisbane.
The Gold Coast Hinterland is full of amazing national parks complete with mountain ranges, waterfalls and a ton of hikes. Here’s my guide to camping at Springbrook National Park.
Further afield, Girraween National Park offers some fabulous hiking and camping opportunities. Read more about camping at Girraween.